Why do we keep facing each other and what helps against it?

Why do we keep facing each other and what helps against it?

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Distance is the order of the day for the new corona virus. This does not only apply to contact with other people. You should also avoid touching yourself, especially on the face. This prevents the virus from reaching the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth, and in this way into the body. Unfortunately, human nature seems to work against hygiene here. Because grasping the face is mostly unconscious and is therefore difficult to control. There are still some tips. (Also interesting: Corona virus: Now even the big dating apps are responding{: target = “_ blank”})

Washing hands is often not sufficient to prevent infection with viruses. A 2013 study by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, found that participants touched the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth approximately 3.4 times an hour after touching public surfaces. However, very few people wash their hands that often right now. It is all the more important to eliminate or at least reduce touching the face. (Read also: Frequent hand washing: This way your hands will not crack{: target = “_ blank”})

Corona virus: Do not touch face

The Australian edition of GQ has compiled a number of scientific findings on why this is so difficult. A main reason seems to be that touching the face is quasi-innate. Babies may then practice later feeding in the womb. We are so familiar with the gestures that they can help reduce stress in tense situations – comparable to sucking the thumb or nail biting.

These movements are often reflexes and therefore particularly difficult to control. “There are many reasons why I look at myself in the face. This behavior is highly automated and unconscious,” Bayerischer Rundfunk quoted behavioral therapist Samy Egli from the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich. Therefore, not grasping each other’s faces is not a question of self-discipline alone.

Literal self-confidence is the first step to success, according to the psychologist. “I first have to become aware of the behavior and bring it from the unconscious to the conscious level. And then I have to practice an alternative behavior that I want to do instead,” said Egli. “Such an alternative behavior could already be observing yourself and making yourself aware. For example, if your nose tickles – just notice the tickling without giving in to the urge to touch your face,” recommends the BR.

Tips against touching the face

Once the necessary problem awareness has been reached, the impulse can be replaced by an alternative action. According to the report, experts speak of “Habit Reversal Training”. “For example, I can try to clench a hand into a fist or put my hands in my pockets – behavior that is incompatible with the behavior of putting a hand on my face,” recommended Egli. However, not grasping the face must be practiced and usually does not work overnight.

Those who consciously relax in spite of the corona crisis reduce the frequency of touches on the face from the outset. Because they are often triggered by stress. Itching of the nose and eyes can also cause gestures, for example due to dry air or allergies. Anyone who counteracts this with medication, humidifiers or air purifiers can also reduce the frequency of touches on the face.


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